Post Holdings’ Rob Vitale, who is on leave as CEO, told analysts he will undergo radiation and chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
Post announced on Nov. 6 that Vitale would take an “unexpected” medical leave of absence. In his first remarks since that announcement, Vitale told Wall Street that he “feels great” but that the medical treatment “could wipe out my energy level for a period of time.”
“Since I became CEO, I’ve attempted to be as candid with you as possible. I will not change that now,” Vitale said in brief remarks during Post’s fourth-quarter earnings call. “Recently, doctors discovered and successfully removed a malignant tumor.”
Vitale, 57, said he has been joining calls with Post and would continue to participate in the company’s business as much as he’s able. He didn’t provide details on when he expects to resume his duties.
Vitale joined Post in 2011 as its CFO and took over the top role in late 2014. He has been instrumental in growing the business beyond its cereal roots through a series of acquisitions.
Post, which also makes peanut butter, mashed potatoes, liquid eggs and dog food, previously named Jeff Zadoks, currently the company’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, as interim CEO while Vitale is on leave.
Vitale expressed “total confidence” in Zadoks and noted that he has been “instrumental in every decision we have made.” Zadoks started at Post the same day as Vitale in 2011.
Post is organized in such a way that Vitale’s time away from leading Post shouldn’t meaningfully impact the company, at least in the near term. Post is divided into five segments that have their own management team.
The largest, Post Consumer Brands, oversees cereal, Peter Pan peanut butter and pet food. The other four segments are Weetabix; Bob Evans side dishes; the company’s foodservice operation and its private label unit.
The “value [of our holding company structure] is now more apparent than ever,” Vitale said. “Our business operations have outstanding leaders that won't miss a beat.”